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Grocery workers may walk off the job Monday

Shoppers with plans to get groceries at QFC, Fred Meyer, Albertsons or Safeway store Monday might want to do it before 7 p.m. That’s when union grocery workers at those stores will go on strike if there’s no contract deal reached.

A 72-hour strike notice was given Friday night to QFC, Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores. Union leaders are warning that workers could walk off the job Monday evening if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.

“The workers would be out on the picket line and we would be talking to all customers encouraging them to honor the picket line and not shop there,” says union spokesman Tom Geiger.

Geiger says there were no major breakthroughs as the negotiations dragged on Sunday.

Geiger says there’s still time to work out a deal Monday, but if the 7 p.m. deadline arrives without a deal, about 21,000 grocery workers in Kitsap, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties will walk out.

Unresolved issues include wages, holiday pay and cuts to health care benefits. The two sides have been in talks for more than six months, he has said.

The grocery stores are negotiating through the Allied Employers group. It says it wants a solid pay and benefits package for workers that would allow the companies to be competitive.

Allied Employers Vice President Scott Powers said in a statement Friday that “these companies remain focused and committed to reach an agreement that is good for our associates, providing them a solid compensation package of pay and benefits; and good for the companies too, so they can be competitive and continue to provide good, stable jobs.”

Meanwhile, grocery workers held a rally Sunday night in downtown Seattle, where a clock has been counting down the number of hours until a possible strike. The union has been making picket schedules and getting thousands of picket signs ready in case of a strike.

The group “Stand With Our Checkers” created a map of alternative grocery stores (below) of “home grown local union employers” that won’t face strikes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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